Adding engine noise to those too quiet cars
MEPs have voted in favour of introducing engine noise to quiet vehicles such as electric and hybrid cars to protect vulnerable road users.
Road safety groups and organisations for partially sighted and blind people had called for so-called acoustic vehicle alerting systems (AVAS) in order to avoid accidents.
Graham Watson, Lib Dem MEP for the South West, was one of those who voted in favour of the move at the European Parliament after learning about the risks to road users after speaking to representatives from the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association.
"Quiet cars are to be welcomed, but not if they are so quiet that safety is put at risk," he said.
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The sound of a braking car can provide a signal to a blind or partially sighted person that it is safe to cross, but if this is too quiet on an electric car, AVAS can solve this problem by providing a warning.
"Silent vehicles are not only an issue for blind and partially sighted people but also for children, cyclists and other vulnerable road users."
Research from the US indicated that very quiet vehicles were twice as likely to be involved in a pedestrian accident as vehicles fitted with a normal internal combustion engine – most typically when the vehicle is slowing, stopping, or reversing.